SAN DIEGO — With his eyes glued to the television and a controller firmly in his hands, Ethan Stroberg may look like any other teenager playing Xbox, but he is learning the rules of the road.
It is a video game that might have parents encouraging their kids to play because it is used as a tool to keep teens safe as they learn the rules of the road.
The Xbox video game allows new drivers to experience navigating some dangerous situations without being in any real danger.
Ethan, who is 15-years-old, is one of the first to test out the new simulated lesson plan called Driving Essentials XE.
“To see it is a lot more helpful because you can see what they are talking about,” he said.
While getting behind the wheel can be overwhelming for new drivers, in ten courses the training program allows drivers to experience different situations without having to leave the house – with a focus on distracted driving.
The video game has scenarios like being cut off, navigating through snow or fog, and even receiving a text message – which it forces the player to answer to see what could happen.
“It puts them in scenarios that they would never be in unless they were in those dangerous scenarios, and I think it is good,” said Ethan’s mother, Amanda Stroberg.
Studies show that 16-year-olds are three times more likely to be in traffic accidents than other age groups because they lack experience behind the wheel.
Ethan’s mom said any tool to curb those numbers is worth testing out and having it on an Xbox is driving interest when it comes to teenagers.
“If you want to reach them, you have to put something on a platform they are using. I think reading a manual is great. Taking a class is great, but when you are learning to drive the more, they can be exposed to the better,” she said.